Read to Death at the Lakeside Library

Lakeside Library Mystery #3

By Holly Danvers

ISBN 9781639103317

Author Website: authorhollydanvers(.)com

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie


Rain Wilmot must find a novel solution in order to catch another killer—before her book club members are picked off one by one.

Summer is in full swing as tourists flock back to the Northwoods and travel to Lofty Pines, Wisconsin. For Rain Wilmot, owner of the Lakeside Library, this is the perfect opportunity to bring back her mother’s summer book club. But the summer sun starts to really heat up when one of the club’s members, Lily Redlin, is found dead in her own home not long after the first meeting.

Alongside her sidekick and neighbor Julia Reynolds and the charming Jace Lowe, Rain discovers that the murder is seemingly inspired by the book club’s recent selection of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery novel, Sparkling Cyanide. But who would kill Lily, and more importantly, why?

The deeper Rain goes into the story, the more confusing and complicated the plot becomes. Was Lily murdered to cover up a tragic accident involving an old classmate years earlier? Or were the rumors true—did Lily really possess priceless original Laura Ingles Wilder manuscripts and someone killed her for them? And who stands to gain the recently inherited piece of waterfront property that Lily received from a long-lost relative?

With a long list of suspects and motives, Rain realizes that all leads come back to people involved in the book club. Rain and her friends take a page from Agatha Christie’s book by hosting a reenactment of the club’s first meeting to flush out the killer. Will Rain’s plan succeed—or will this librarian’s book be checked out for good? (From Goodreads)


This delightful novel brings us back to the Northwoods of Wisconsin in the early summer. One of the themes, along with the very obvious murder, is how women’s lives are enhanced by various kinds of friendships. Best friends since children, Rain and Julia have a very close relationship due to their shared history and complete trust in each other. Next is their friendship and concerns for Marge, an older widow who is like family and helps at the library. There are women in the library’s book club, some they know and some who are new. Others include spouses, a friendship possibly blossoming into more, and the joy of being owned by pets.

The summer book club opened with Agatha Christie’s mystery, Sparkling Cyanide. I liked how the background of the novel and differences with the movie were discussed along with the mystery itself. I was uncomfortable with how a couple of the ladies were almost to the point of verbal blows, but it helped set the stage for the death of Lily, one of the attendees.

The day after the meeting, Rain and Julia went to visit Lily in hopes of making peace. Lily had recently purchased and moved into a small cottage on the lake while selling her home in town. Rain and Julia saw that the front door was ajar and called her name. The lock on the entry door looked as if it had been jimmied. That, coupled with Lily’s lack of response, led Julia to call her brother Jace, a police officer. While waiting for him, Julia gently pushed the door open just a little bit. Inside, lying on the floor, was Lily, her hands as blue as the waters of the lake.

Lily had been poisoned. When Jace had let them briefly enter Lily’s cottage, Rain and Julia noted there were two recently used wine glasses nearby, so Lily probably knew her killer well enough to invite inside. Had Lily left her key somewhere and broke the lock herself? Rain and Julia knew very little about Lily, but were about to learn much more, including the possible tie-in of a death over twenty years ago.

I enjoyed getting to catch up with Rain, Julia, and Jace. Their behaviors, realistic conversations, and how Rain and Julia share almost everything with each other, gave me a front row seat to their activities. Jace’s career as a police officer could cause conflicts with Julia and Rain, especially when the possibility of romance with Rain arose. Other characters, including Nick, Marge and the book club members, were defined as required for their roles.

One of many things I enjoyed was a thumbnail history of the cabin the library is in, the family home, and the backstory in Rain’s family surrounding the structures. Another is simply being on the lake. I felt as if I were there, whether in storms or sunshine. Sunrises and sunsets are also amazingly described. 

Plot twists and possible motives kept me on my toes and heightened the intrigue. Lily, who had been adopted, had a substantial inheritance pending from someone she never heard of. Rumor had it that Lily also had a manuscript written by Laura Ingalls Wilder for a book never published.  I did tentatively guess who the present-day killer was, but the manuscript was a wild card forcing me to look closer at suspects considered by Jace and the police department, Rain, and Julia. Overall, I was satisfied with the resolution of both past and present deaths, and am looking forward to the next in series. I highly recommend this novel, especially for those who appreciate a balance of cozy mystery and women’s fiction.